The University of Pittsburgh Policy Review Committee will review University policies on patents and copyrights, conflict of interest, and responsible conduct of research with the intention of making recommendations that will improve the ability of our faculty to work productively with external partners and effectively translate research in ways that will support the University’s shared goal to enhance the beneficial impact of our work on society.

Letter to Committee Members from Provost, June 15, 2015

Thank you for agreeing to be a part of this very important committee to review our policies. Your work here can set the framework for Pitt moving forward into the foreseeable future.

Key Policies to Review

The key policies to review are in the areas of intellectual property (IP), copyright and conflict of interest (COI). Specifically, the policies to review are:

  1. Policy 11-02-01 Patent Rights and Technology Transfer
  2. Policy 11-02-02 Copyrights
  3. Policy 11-01-03 Conflict of Interest Policy for Faculty, Scholars, Researchers, Research Staff
  4. Policy 11-01-02 Rights, Roles and Responsibilities of Sponsored Research

Since policies are not fully independent, the committee will also ensure that other policies not listed are consistent with the policies above.

Policies go hand-in-hand with procedures. Therefore, the committee should review procedures that implement these policies and make recommendations for changes in these procedures. Those recommendations will be presented to the Process Improvement Working Group for their input.

I anticipate that there will be an extensive amount of work required by this committee. It will be very important that you carefully and thoroughly consider the revisions you recommend. In your deliberations, it is very essential that you get input from our faculty and other external constituencies. You are representing the university in this effort and listening to the concerns and ideas of the community will be very important.

Process and Structure

In terms of process and structure, Mark Redfern will chair this committee and report to the
Chancellor and me on progress. Mark has recommended a sub-committee structure in order to be most effective, and I agree. Each subcommittee will work on specific policies then report back to the full committee with thoughts and recommendations. The full committee will come together to discuss all ideas. Thus, everyone on the committee will be involved in discussing changes in the policies. In order to be most efficient with your time, Mark has also recommended that there be a drafting committee that can write up draft policies based upon the subcommittee ideas and give those drafts back to the committee for consideration. Mark will head that up.

Once completed, your recommendations will be reviewed in accordance with our process of shared governance, including review by the university research council, my office, the Council of Deans, the University Senate, the Chancellor and members of his senior staff.


While I would like the work of this committee to be done quickly, I realize that this effort will take time to do right. I would like your initial recommendations to be completed and presented to the review process by the end of the fall term if possible. That will give us time to work through the process and enact the new policies in the spring term.

In order to help guide the committee in its work, this Statement of Principles has been drafted.   These principles can serve as a guidepost for the review and drafting of proposed policies.

A policy must support our core mission as a university. This core mission leads directly to the following five fundamental principles.

Fundamental Principles

  1. Policies lead Pitt to serve the public good and address societal needs with the greatest impact possible.
  2. Policies aim to advance the education of our students at the undergraduate and graduate levels;
  3. Policies encourage the professional development of our faculty and students through the engagement of research and scholarly activities to advance the frontiers of knowledge and creative endeavor;
  4. Policies facilitate cooperation with industrial and governmental institutions to transfer knowledge in science, technology, and health care;
  5. Policies support the social, intellectual, and economic development in the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.
Mark Redfern, PhD
Vice Provost for Research
University of Pittsburgh

Jeremy Berg, PhD
Associate Vice Chancellor for Science Strategy
and Planning in the Health Sciences
Director, Institute of Personalized Medicine;
Professor of Computational and Systems Biology
University of Pittsburgh

Marc Malandro, PhD
Director, Innovation Institute
Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology
Management and Commercialization
University of Pittsburgh

Kathleen Blee, PhD
Professor, Department of Sociology
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pittsburgh

Steven Reis, MD
Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research
Professor of Emergency Medicine and
Clinical and Translational Science
University of Pittsburgh

David Brienza, PhD
Professor and Associate Dean
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Pittsburgh

J. Peter Rubin, MD
Chair, Department of Plastic Surgery and
UPMC Endowed Professor of Plastic Surgery
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

William Federspiel, PhD
William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering
Department of Bioengineering
Swanson School of Engineering
University of Pittsburgh

D. Lansing Taylor, PhD
Director, University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute
Allegheny Foundation Professor of Computational
& Systems Biology
University of Pittsburgh

Laura Hillock
Associate General Counsel
University of Pittsburgh

Elizabeth Venditti, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology
University of Pittsburgh

George Huber
Professor of Health Policy & Management
Associate Dean for Public Policy
University of Pittsburgh

William Wagner, PhD
Director, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Professor, Department of Surgery
University of Pittsburgh

Rebecca (Crowley) Jacobson, MD
Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics
Chief Information Officer, Institute for Personalized Medicinie
University of Pittsburgh

Craig Wilcox, PhD
Department of Chemistry
Chevron Science Center

Michael Madison
Professor of Law
Faculty Director, Innovation Practice Institute
University of Pittsburgh

Jennifer Woodward, PhD
Associate Vice Provost for Research Operations
Associate Professor of Surgery
University of Pittsburgh

Patent Rights and Technology Transfer, and Data Ownership Subcommittee

  • Bill Federspiel (Chair)
  • Jeremy Berg
  • Dave Brienza
  • Rebecca (Crowley) Jacobson
  • Marc Malandro
  • Peter Rubin
  • Lans Taylor

Copyright Policy Subcommittee

  • Michael Madison (Chair)
  • Kathy Blee
  • Laura Hillock
  • Beth Venditti

Conflict of Interest and Consulting Policy Subcommittee

  • Craig Wilcox (Chair)
  • George Huber
  • Steve Reis
  • Bill Wagner
  • Jennifer Woodward